Abbildungen der Seite

The following miscellaneous thoughts are partly from “ Hudibras" and partly from Butler's “ Remains ” :

“In Rome no temple was so low

As that of Honour, built to show
How humble Honour ought to be,

Though there 'twas all authority.”
“ Money that, like the swords of Kings,

Is the last reason of all things."
“Ay me! what perils do environ

The man that meddles with cold iron ? "
“ 'Tis not restraint or liberty .

That makes men prisoners or free,
But perturbations that possess
The mind, or equanimities.
The whole world was not half so wide
To Alexander when he cried
Because he had but one to subdue,
As was a paltry narrow tub to
Diogenes, who is not said
(For aught that ever I could read)
To whine, put finger i' th' eye, and sob
Because he had ne'er another tub.”
« Fools are known by looking wise,

As men tell woodcocks by their eyes.”
“ All smatterers are more brisk and pert

Than those that understand an art;
As little sparkles shine more bright

Than glowing coals that give them light."
“Great conquerors greater glory gain

By foes in triumph led than slain.”
As at the approach of winter, all

The leaves of great trees are to fall,
And leave then naked, to engage
With storms and tempest when they rage,
While humbler plants are forced to wear
Their fresh green liveries all the year;
So when their glorious season's gone
With great men, and hard times come on,
The greatest calamities oppress

The greatest still, and spare the less."
“ Valour's a mousetrap, wit a gin,

That women oft are taken in."

“Night is the sabbath of mankind

To rest the body and the mind." “Opinion governs all mankind,

Like the blind's leading of the blind.” • Wedlock without love, some say,

Is like a lock without a key." “ As if artillery and edge-tools

Were th' only engines to save souls !” “ Those that fly may fight again,

Which he can never do that's slain." * “ He that complies against his will

Is of his own opinion still.” “In the hurry of a fray

'Tis hard to keep out of harm's way."
" In all the trade of war no feat

Is nobler than a brave retreat,
For those that run away and fly

Take plan at least of the enemy." We select a few of Butler's humorous and happy rhyme endings:

"A true beard's like a batter'd ensign ;

That's bravest which there are most rents in."
“ Convened at midnight in outhouses,
To appoint new rising rendezvouses."

“Doctor epidemic,
Stored with deletery medcins,
Which whosoever took is dead since,”
“ Wholesale critics, that in coffee-

Houses cry down all philosophy.”
“ To th' emperor Caligula,

That triumphed o'er the British sea,t * In the “Apophthegms” of Erasmus, translated by Udall, 1542, we

" That same man that runnith awaie

Maie again fight another daie.”
Butler was imitated by Goldsmith in his “ Art of Poetry on a New
Plan " -

“ He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day;
But he who is in battle slain

Can never rise and fight again."
+ Pronounced say.

Took crabs and oysters prisoners,
And lobsters 'stead of cuirassiers :
Engaged his legions in fierce bustles
With periwinkles, prawns, and mussels,
And led his troops, with furious gallops,

To charge whole regiments of scallops."
“ Madame, I do as is my duty,

Honour the shadow of your shoe-tie.”
“ Anti-christian assemblies
To mischief bent as far's in them lies."

“That proud dame
Used him so like a base rascallion,
That old Pyg-what d' you call him-malion,
That cut his mistress out of stone,

Had not so hard a hearted one."
"• O Heaven !' quoth she, 'can that be true ?

I do begin to fear 'tis you ;
Not by your individual whiskers,
But by your dialect and discourse.'"

Samuel Butler, the author of “Hudibras," was born at Strensham, in Worcestershire, in 1612. About almost every main incident in his life the authorities differ, and they differ also in their descriptions of his father's position; for while Anthony Wood says his father was comparatively wealthy, others assert that he was simply a yeoman of poor estate, and that it was with difficulty he provided his son with such education as the Worcester Grammar School afforded. As to the future poet, it is equally uncertain whether he went from school to Oxford University or to Cambridge, or whether he went to either. While still in his early manhood he obtained an appointment as clerk to Mr. Jefferys, of Earl's Coombe, in Worcestershire, an eminent justice of the peace; and here he turned his leisure to advantage in the study of books, and the cultivation of music and painting. He was next at Wrest, in Bedfordshire, the seat of the Countess of Kent, where he enjoyed the use of a good library and the conversation of the learned Selden. Afterwards we find him in the family of Sir Samuel Luke, a Presbyterian Colonel and one of Cromwell's officers, “scout master for Bedfordshire, and governor of Newport Pagnell.” We must suppose the treatment he received at the hands of his patron was harsh and ungenerous, or we shall be unable to excuse the want of gratitude and good faith which led him to caricature Sir Samuel in the person of Sir Hudibras.* And that Sir Samuel was the original seems by no means doubtful from the following allusion:

« 'Tis sung there is a valiant Mamalake

In foreign land ycleped ...." when the rhyme obviously requires that the blank should be filled up with the Colonel's name.f.

At the Restoration Butler was made secretary to the Earl of Carberry, Lord President of Wales, and also steward of Ludlow Castle. About the same time he married— Mrs. Hubert, a widow of means, says one biographer,—a widow, says another, who had lost her fortune by injudicious investments. In 1662, at the age of fifty, he rose into sudden reputation by the publication of the first part of his colossal satire, which, as we learn from Pepys, was the admiration of the King and his courtiers. The

* The name was borrowed from Spenser :-"Sir Hadibras, a hardy man” (“Fairy Queen,” ver. 2, i., 17.) Sidrophel, the astrologer, was meant for Lilly.

+ The elder Disraeli, in his “ Curiosities of Literature,” in an elaborate paper endeavours to vindicate Butler from the accusation of ingratitude in having caricatured his patron, Sir Samuel Luke. His vindication seems to us worth nothing, if it be agreed that Luke was really the original, as most persons believe, of Butler's hero. But it is only justice to state that the editors of “ The Grub Street Journal” (January 1730) assert that the actual prototype was “a Devonshire man, Colonel Rolle," and that the name "Hudibras” is derived from “ Hugh de Bras," the old tutelar saint of Devonshire. The assertion would be easier to credit if those who made it had given us some particulars both of the Devonshire Colonel and the Devonshire saint !

second part followed in 1663; the third in 1678. Butler had to be content with fame. If he needed, and anticipated, a more solid recompense he was disappointed. The story that Charles presented him with a purse of three hundred guineas rests on no authentic foundation; and though Clarendon, it is said, gave him reason to hope for perferment he never received it. Anthony Wood asserts, but the other authorities deny, that the Duke of Buckingham, when Chancellor of Cambridge, appointed him as his secretary, and on all occasions treated him with liberality and kindness. But if this be untrue, there seems reason to believe that the following anecdote is not less untrue : “Mr. Wycherley had always laid hold of any opportunity which offered of representing to the Duke of Buckingham how well Mr. Butler had deserved of the royal family by writing his inimitable Hudibras, and that it was a reproach to the Court that a person of his loyalty and wit should suffer in obscurity, and under the wants he did. The Duke always seemed to hearken to him with attention enough, and after some time undertook to recommend his pretensions to his Majesty. Mr. Wycherley, in hopes to keep him steady to his word, obtained of his Grace to name a day, when he might introduce that modest and unfortunate poet to his new patron. At last an appointment was made, and the place of meeting was agreed to be the Roebuck. Mr. Butler and his friend attended accordingly; the Duke joined them, but as the devil would have it, the door of the room where they sat was open, and his Grace, who had seated himself near it, observing a pimp of his acquaintance (the creature too was a knight) trip by with a brace of ladies, immediately quitted his engagement to follow another kind of business,

« ZurückWeiter »